During the third and final day of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks selected offensive tackle Jamarco Jones out of Ohio State, the only offensive lineman they selected during the draft. Many observers have pointed to his length and strong technique as reasons why he could potentially be an immediate contributor on the offensive line for the team, and he does have certain skills that are highly developed. In this piece, however, I’m going to focus more on the parts of his game that concern me.
To start with, however, I am going to show what he does well, and that is that when he locks on to a guy, there’s a good chance that defender isn’t going anywhere. Here is an example of him locking on a defender and driving, which is what we like to see. In all of these videos he is at left tackle wearing number 74.
The defender Jones was engaged with on that play was D.J. Ward, who went undrafted over the weekend and signed with the Cleveland Browns as an UDFA. However, those two matched up quite a bit during the Oklahoma-Ohio State game this year, and there were times when Jones was unable to maintain the block against Ward, such as here.
On that play, we see Ward simply toss Jones to the side. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s not reassuring, especially considering that Ward weighed in at 245 pounds at his Pro Day, meaning Jones had a roughly 50 pound weight advantage. And Ward wasn’t the only Sooner who was able to shrug off Jones, as in the next video we see Du’Vonta Lampkin do the same thing.
Lampkin, like Ward, went undrafted and signed with the Baltimore Ravens, so it’s not as if he’s a nobody. He’s at least got NFL caliber skills of some kind, however, it is a bit worrisome to see Jones tossed to the side repeatedly by defensive linemen who went undrafted. Obviously, showing this against lower level players it’s likely he’ll have the same issue against top level competition, and that is exactly what we see.
There he is engaged with Rashan Gary one moment, and then all of a sudden he’s watching as Gary he shrugged him off in order to chase down J.T. Barrett to make the sack.
That lack of strength against higher levels of competition isn’t even what concerns me most, however, as my biggest concern is his lack of speed. I’ll go into this in more detail a bit later, but it appears in watching tape that he attempts to make up for his lack of speed by anticipating an outside rush, which makes him susceptible to being beaten to the inside.
My concern with that is that he often grabs on to defenders just like he does in that video, with one hand on the front and one hand on the back, which is not a way to avoid being called for holding in the NFL. Watch him do exactly that on this play.
Not only is he susceptible to inside moves, we also see his lack of speed manifested when he tries to take on more agile defenders in space.
It’s obviously not the end of the world, but we routinely watch him take a bad angle and completely whiff on a quicker, faster defender. He also has a tendency to lunge and whiff on occasion, such as here against Chase Winovich, who simply swims over Jones.
Here’s another angle of the exact same play where Winovich simply tosses Jones down onto his backside.
On that play we see Winovich attempt to race past Jones, and by the time Winovich has turned the corner Jones is actually physically located behind Winovich. The lack of footspeed to maintain engagement with Winovich that Jones displays there is what allows Winovich to get Jones turned around and then go in pursuit of Barrett for the sack.
And that lack of speed and quickness is displayed over and over. Here is a clean whiff as he attempts to engage Rashan Gary and ends up on his knees.
Now, the majority of these videos have been somewhat negative, and I get that, so let me take a step back and point out that he does have a habit of recognizing end-tackle stunts and picking them up. He did that multiple times against Clemson in the College Football Playoff game in 2016, and he does that in the following video against Michigan.
However, what he does seem to miss often is when the stunt comes from the second level, such as was seen on this play against Oklahoma where he completely misses the stunting linebacker.
And that worked so well that the Sooners decided to do it again later in the game.
However, he is not completely unaware as some offensive linemen we have seen enter the NFL. As noted above, he regularly recognizes and picks up end-tackle stunts, so it’s simply a matter of him learning to recognize the stunt from the second level. And he shows great awareness on this play picking up a blitzer coming from the second level.
Particularly pertinent on that play is that the Sooners attempted to trick him on that play. He was covered by a defensive end who drifted to the inside, apparently hoping to draw Jones’ attention aware from the linebacker blitzing from the second level. The blitzer gets to Barrett on the play, but I’m not giving any of that blame to Jones because he put his defender on the ground and gave Barrett plenty of time to get rid of the ball.
However, what we see when he tries to cut block NFL-caliber competition is less comforting.
On that play he attempted to cut Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, but failed to put him Okoronkwo on the ground. Now, he does give Barrett time to get the ball out on what is a quick read and throw play, but this is the same kind of cut block failing we saw through most of the season, until the Seahawks offensive linemen figured out how to do it properly late in the year.
Moving back to the 2017 CFP game against Clemson, let me get back to my biggest concern, his lack of footspeed. We’ve seen him have the corner turned on him in multiple of these videos by various defenders, and here is freshman defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell simply going right past Jones. That video is in slow motion, and in real time it represents instant pressure on Barrett, forcing him to step up, right into the waiting arms of a rushing defensive tackle.
The reason his lack of footspeed is so material is because of the simple fact that teams use it to set him up. In game after game after game teams have the ends use speed rushes for the early part of the game to get Jones expecting an outside rush and leaning that way, and then use an inside move to get to the quarterback. On the final interception that effectively ended the playoff game against Clemson, that is exactly what Clemson did.
However, before I get to the final interception, let me show the next to final interception, or more accurately, let me show Jones losing his cool in the immediate aftermath of the next to final interception.
Now, I don’t know if this was an isolated incident for Jones or not, but the Seahawks already have enough hot headed tackles on the roster as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully this was simply an emotional reaction in the midst of a heart crushing loss, but it’s not the only parallel to a highly criticized tackle drafted by the Seahawks.
Jones started both of his final two seasons at Ohio State, and while I don’t have the full data, I do know that in his first three games at OSU he had two false starts. What he did in the games between then and the end of the year, I don’t know, but I can show you him false starting in the fourth quarter of the CFP playoff game just minutes after getting called for a fifteen yard penalty.
Now, I have no idea how much, if at all, Jones cleaned up his penalty act in 2017. I’ll do some more research into that and put it together when I have a chance. However, in the meantime, let me get back to the point about his lack of footspeed. As I mentioned earlier, teams seem to set him up to be vulnerable to an inside move late in the game. It happened multiple times throughout his career, and in particular I’d like to highlight him getting absolutely destroyed by an inside spin move by Okoronkwo on this particular play leading to a holding penalty.
Now, this is of particular note not just because it came against NFL-caliber competition, it’s important because of which team drafted Okoronkwo.
Yes, the player destroying new Seahawks tackle Jamarco Jones in that video from the Oklahoma-Ohio State game was drafted by none other than division rival Los Angeles Rams, potentially to in part replace the departed Robert Quinn.
Now, if that’s not enough for some fans, here’s a list of edge rushers the Hawks are slated to face during 2018, any of whom I fear far greater than Okoronkwo.
- Von Miller,
- Bradley Chubb,
- Akiem Hicks,
- Demarcus Lawrence,
- Chandler Jones,
- Khalil Mack,
- Bruce Irvin,
- Mario Addison,
- Ezekiel Ansah,
- Joey Bosa,
- Melvin Ingram and
- Everson Griffen
And that doesn’t even take into account that the Rams, with both Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald on the roster, could now use Donald more as an edge rusher on passing downs with Suh lining up as the nose tackle.
There’s a lot Jones does right and a lot that he brings to the table, but just like any player entering the NFL, he has a lot to work on before he’s ready for the NFL. So, while some fans are excited about him and the potential he brings to the Seahawks, I’ll keep my optimism in reserve until I get a chance to see him during the preseason.